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  • Rogmasher Rampage
  • Written by Mark Crilley
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307514356
  • Our Price: $9.99
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Rogmasher Rampage

Written by Mark CrilleyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Mark Crilley

eBook

List Price: $9.99

eBook

On Sale: January 25, 2012
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-307-51435-6
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

After months of intensive training, Billy is finally ready to go on his first solo creatch op for AFMEC (Allied Forces for the Management of Extraterritorial Creatches). Godzilla-like monsters are menacing the Chinese mountain village of Hua Qing. Billy is more than fired up to fend them off–until he discovers that bossy Ana García will be tagging along. Though Ana is no older than Billy, she’s a full-fledged AFMEC agent–and doesn’t hesitate to remind him of that fact. Whenever possible.
At first, the mission is pretty straightforward. Billy and Ana help Hua Qing fight off the monsters, and life for the villagers goes back to normal. But Billy can’t shake the feeling that things in Hua Qing are not what they seem. Is Billy being paranoid? Or is something really bad about to go down? If Billy is right, then he, Ana, and the villagers of Hua Qing are in a whole lot of trouble.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1


Billy Clikk dug his fingers into the Peruvian murgwod's dorsal fin. This was not easy. The murgwod was soaking wet and covered in mud, and that was on top of the inch-thick layer of slimy exoblubber that coated its entire body. Add to this the fact that Billy was sweating from every pore after a long day trudging through the Peruvian jungle to get to this spot--an area of shallow water at the edge of a muddy branch of the Rio Urubamba--and the conditions for maintaining a good grip on a murgwod were about as poor as they could possibly be.

The murgwod could snap at the air and growl all it wanted. Billy wasn't going anywhere. Billy and his parents, Jim and Linda Clikk, had been charged with finding and neutralizing this creatch, and now that Billy had it in his grasp he wasn't about to let it get away.
As Billy struggled to improve his grip, he surveyed the fearsome beast he was now riding like a bucking bronco: the red, muscular body, the seven-toed feet and their daggerlike claws, the long spiky reptilian tail, the rhino-ish head, the single fiery yellow eye, and the jaws that featured the most ferocious set of incisors Billy had ever seen.

"Got it!" Billy called to his parents, realizing even as he did so that they were unlikely to hear him from where they were, searching in vain for the murgwod more than half a mile up the river. It was just Billy's luck that Orzamo, his half-dog half-lizard friend, was at his parents' side at the moment instead of his. (Billy had actually encouraged her to go help them out, knowing that his parents were pretty tired from a creatch op they'd handled in Norway a day or two earlier.)
No biggie, thought Billy. Dad let me handle that nine-legged malanoobu by myself last week in Mauritania.

How much harder can a murgwod be?

The murgwod let out a furious growl followed by several defiant grunts, as if it had heard Billy's thoughts and was offended by the comparison. It then launched into an especially vigorous bout of thrashing. Billy dug his heels into the murgwod's ribs, refusing to be thrown.
"Take it easy, pal," Billy said. "I'm just doing my job here."

Just doing his job.

Billy found it useful to treat his bizarre double life--half the time an average sixth grader in Piffling, Indiana, the other half a globe-trotting creatch battler for the top-secret monster-containment organization known as AFMEC--as if it were no big deal. If he stopped and thought about it for too long it would probably drive him nuts. In fact, pretty much every aspect of his life now required putting certain thoughts out of his head as he focused on the task at hand. This Peruvian murgwod, for instance. If Billy allowed himself to dwell on the fact that this particular murgwod had been terrorizing villagers up and down the Rio Urubamba for the past three weeks, swallowing their chickens and pigs whole and, on occasion, leaving men and women with missing limbs and hideous scars . . . well, he'd be a lot better off not dwelling on it. So he didn't.

"All right," said Billy, panting loudly as he prepared to take things to the next level. "Just work with me here and you'll make things a lot easier for both of us."

Billy knew the standard procedure for dealing with a murgwod. He'd studied all the steps just a few months earlier, preparing for his first round of AFMEC entrance exams, and had gone back to the Sea Creatch Guidebook to memorize them word for word while gearing up for the current creatch op. He also knew that every step in the murgwod subduing procedure ("Grasp the dorsal fin firmly with both hands while maneuvering your legs into the riding position," "Beware of the murgwod's prehensile tail, an agile fifth limb with a viselike grip") was designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to allow you to knock the creature out with a single shot from a fully loaded Skump pistol, expertly fired into the cranial artery: a half-inch-wide blood vessel tucked just beneath a fold of skin at the base of the murgwod's neck.

Billy was right where he needed to be to fire that shot, and no doubt the murgwod's cranial artery was where it needed to be to receive it, but Billy's Skump pistol--the one he'd used just moments before to force the murgwod out of hiding--was buried in the mud on the shore behind him. He'd chucked it there when he realized he'd run out of ammo.

Good thing I brought a klimper dart with me.

Billy wiped the sweat from his eyes for the umpteenth time that afternoon, reached down, and pulled the dart container out of his back pocket. He wished that his Affy friend Ana Garc’a could be there to see him as he snapped it open with his left hand while maintaining his grip on the murgwod's fin with his right. She was the one who had taught him how to open a klimper dart case with one hand. She was also the one who had thought he was crazy when he proceeded to practice doing it for hours on end, first with one hand, then the other. ("Next thing you'll be opening one with your feet," she'd said with a laugh. Billy had been too embarrassed to admit he'd already been working on that. And had become pretty good at it, as a matter of fact.)

No second chances with this sucker, Billy reminded himself as he raised the klimper dart into the air and prepared to jab it into the murgwod's neck. Klimper darts were nearly as effective as Skump pistols, but they contained only a single payload of klimp toxin.


From the Hardcover edition.
Mark Crilley

About Mark Crilley

Mark Crilley - Rogmasher Rampage

Photo © Mary Moylan

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created Akiko.

In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s “It List” of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I had to draw pictures for a living or I’d go crazy . . .

I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to be an author or illustrator until I was 28 years old! I taught English in Taiwan and Japan for five years—and seriously considered spending the rest of my life overseas—before finally realizing I had to draw pictures for a living or I’d go crazy. At first I was writing mainly just to give myself something to illustrate. Only recently have I come to see myself as a ‘real’ author.

Ever since I discovered that there were people out there willing to pay me to make up stories and draw strange creatures all day, I knew there was no turning back. “This,” I thought, “is the job for me.” And I still think that, every day.

He taught me to push myself harder, to hold myself to a higher standard . . .

I was very fortunate to be among the last people to study under David Small, the 2001 Caldecott Medal Winner, back when he was still an art instructor at Kalamazoo College. In fact, I was there just after he’d completed Imogene’s Antlers and saw all the original artwork. David definitely was a huge influence on me as an illustrator. He taught me to push myself harder, to hold myself to a higher standard.

When I was growing up, all my favorite writers and illustrators could be found in one place: Mad magazine! Looking back, I think you can definitely see the influence. Still, my mother did make sure that I saw all the great children’s books, and I recall being especially wild about a lavishly illustrated edition of Pinocchio.

I’m one of those writers who believes in total spontaneity . . .

Just sit down and make it up as you go along. Of course, this doesn’t really fly in the world of children’s books, so I do have to plan my books out as best I can. Still, I think a lot of the really good ideas come unexpectedly, popping up out of the blue when you’re halfway through the story.

How can I make this story different?

I start with a general sense of the sort of story I want to tell—a journey into a mystical land, for instance—then ask myself the questions I need to answer to write the story: Who is the main character? How does he/she get to the mystical land? How can I make this story different from all the other stories that follow this pattern? The real trick is to get beyond the obvious ideas to the truly unusual ideas. This requires time, thought, and lots of long walks.

Akiko is mainly based on Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I wrote the first story while living in Japan, so I chose a common Japanese name—Akiko—as the name for my “Alice.”

Akiko has a knack for getting along with pretty much anyone, so I think the two of us would get on swimmingly. She would probably describe me as “a pretty nice guy, but he needs to get out more often.”

I hope there is a quiet theme in the Akiko novels about the important role a child plays . . .

I initially felt I was writing for a general audience: the sort of men, women, and children who read Calvin and Hobbes. Now I’ve read enough interviews with other children’s authors to realize we all think we’re writing for a general audience.

Truthfully, I don’t think too much about the age of the reader, more about the sort of reader I’m trying to reach: someone who likes imagining other worlds, going on adventures, laughing on one page and being frightened on the next.

I think there’s a natural “all ages groove” that writers can get into, and before long you’re doing it without even thinking.

Some days I’m convinced my books have no message whatsoever and are simply pure fluff from start to finish! Still, I hope there is a quiet theme in the Akiko novels about the important role a child plays in the world, and how, in many instances, a little kid has more sense than the adults surrounding her.

PRAISE

AKIKO ON THE PLANET SMOO
“[A] stylish debut.”—Publishers Weekly

“The action is fast-paced and nicely illustrated . . . and Crilley’s easy-reading, conversational style is appealing.”—Booklist

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